Gloria Grahame was an American actress, who recieved the Academy Award for supporting actress in Crossfire, 1944; Award for supporting actress in The Bad and the Beautiful, 1952.
Grahame, Gloria was born on November 28, 1924 in Los Angeles, California, United States. Daughter of Michael and Jean (McDougall) Hallward. Her Scottish mother had been a singer and an actress before she became drama coach at the Pasadena Playhouse. Her father, too, was British, and his father, Basil Hallward, was a painter referred to in Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Just a few years before her death, there she was in England, doing theatre—Sadie Thompson in Rain, and a new play about a movie star, A Tribute to Lili Lamont.
Little Gloria was in the theatre as a kid. an understudy, when she made her movie debut as a waitress in Blonde Fever (44, Richard Whorf).
She married the actor Stanley Clements (1945-48), and appeared in It Happened in Brooklyn (46, Whorf); as flirty Violet in It’s a Wonderful Life (47, Frank Capra), who becomes a hooker in the nightmare; and Merton of the Movies (47, Robert Alton). She was then riveting, and nominated for supporting actress, as a tart in Crossfire (47, Edward Dmytryk), perhaps the most decent woman she ever played.
In 1948, she appeared in Nicholas Ray’s A Woman’s Secret, and married the director. (They were divorced in 1952.) She was also in Song of the Thin Man (47, Edward Buzzell) and Roughshod (49, Mark Robson) but, despite her sultry, deadpan looks, she was not getting lead roles until In a Lonely Place (50), where she is the great and lost love that Bogart suffers—angel of rescue, or clinching failure? They were at odds by 1950. and Ray made tortured statements about how little the marriage ever meant to him. But they had a son.
Grahame worked for Ray and Josef von Sternberg on Macao (52); she won the supporting actress Oscar for her Southern wife in The Bad and the Beautifid (52, Vincente Minnelli), a role as funny as it was close to danger—for that woman goes fatally too far, offscreen; she was stunning as Jack Palances companion in menace in Sudden Fear (52, David Miller); and she was the blithe elephant girl in The Greatest Show on Earth (52, Cecil B. De Mille).
She was in Man on a Tightrope (53, Elia Kazan), and went to England for The Good Die Young (53, Lewis Gilbert). But she was at her best, half lovely, hall scalded by coffee (preeminently two-faced) in The Big Heat (53, Eritz Lang), and unaffectedly sexual but distant in Lang’s Human Desire (54). And in 1954, she married producer Cy Howard—it lasted until 1957.
Her movie fortunes slipped slowly: Naked Alibi (54. Jerry Hopper); Widmark’s wife in The Cob- tceb (55, Minnelli); Ado Annie in Oklahoma! (55, Fred Zinnemann); neglected in Not as a Stranger (55, Stanley Kramer); The Man Who Never Was (56. Ronald Neame); and Odds Against Tomorrow (59, Robert Wise).
In 1961, she married her stepson, Anthony Ray, Nick Ray’s child by his first marriage. As she grew older, the pout turned very sad, and her films matched that mood: Bide Beyond Vengeance (66, Bernard McEveety); Blood and Lace (70, Philip Gilbert); The Loners (72, Sutton Roley); Mama's Dirty Girls (74, John Hayes); Mansion of the Doomed (75, Michael Pataki); Head Over Heels/Chilly Scenes of Winter (79, Joan Micklin Silver); A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (79, Ralph Thomas); Melvin and Howard (80, Jonathan Demme); and The Nesting (SI, Armand Weston).
In an interview at the time, she kissed the writer on the lips, and said, "Well, I couldn’t go home and write an article about you. Or maybe I could . . . If that isn’t a loaded hesitation from one of her pictures, how do we place her wretched death, not long afterwards, or its halffictional, half-biographical treatment in her young lover Peter Turner’s Film Stars Don t Die in Liverpool?
Ms. Williamson was right: Grahame was always mysterious, or less than reliable. Even in In a Lonely Place, where she is ostensibly the fixed character who must judge another, there are hints of turbulence ready to break out, and of a past that makes her absentminded. If she only ever really played supporting parts, that may be because that level of work allowed her to be most enigmatic. But things happened when she was around: any room became a place where coffee was coming to the boil.
“File excellent English critic Judith Williamson has said of Grahame (in Human Desire): “. . . she seems to represent a sort of acted-upon femininity, both unfathomable and ungraspable. She slips through the film like a drop of loose mercury. Neither we nor the other characters know whether to believe what she says; elusive as a cat, she is the focus of terrible actions, but unknowable herself.””
Married Stanley Clements, 1945 (divorced). Married second, Nichoas Ray, 1948 (divorced 1953).